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Minority legislators to IRC: Protect minority communities

Minority legislators today sent one loud message to the Independent Redistricting Commission: Keep their communities together in redrawing Arizona’s next legislative boundaries.

The lawmakers, who are members of the Arizona Redistricting Minority Coalition, said that holding those communities intact should come first before considering districts’ competitiveness.

Rep. Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix, said commissioners could avoid future legal challenges if they kept in mind the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits drawing districts where minorities’ voting power is diluted, denying those communities a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice.

“We are asking the Independent Redistricting Commission not to diminish or not to dilute the impact that minority voters are going to have here in the state of Arizona,” Miranda said. “We want to make sure that they get the message that we want to help them avoid any legal issues or legal challenges in the future.”

The group’s members said they agree with drawing competitive districts — but not at the expense of minority communities.

The group has submitted legislative maps to the commission.

Its members said they considered property values, language, school districts, graduation rates, and natural boundaries, among other things, in coming up with four minority-majority districts.

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